Android Wear 2.9 update for the phone app to roll out within days

According to the Android Wear support page, Google is now ready to send out Android Wear 2.9. The update will start rolling out in a few days. Keep in mind that this is not an OTA update for an Android Wear powered timepiece. Instead, this update is for the Android Wear app that is installed on the phone. The update includes a new notification complication that allows you to view previews of your messages. Another change adds “improved glanceability in notification cards with longer titles.”

In addition, a dot will be found by default at the bottom of a watch face to indicate an unread notification. …


Google Phone v17 scores Facebook Messenger-like floating chatheads with in-call controls

Hey, do you love chat heads? 

If you are a casual or devoted fan of Facebook’s own Messenger, then you are most likely loving these floating collapsible bubbles that make communication easier and don’t force you to leave your app in order to reply your mom back.
Google’s own Phone app itself scored floating chat heads today, and while it seems odd for a Phone app to score such a feature, it is quite useful. Version 17.0.184919600 of the app puts all essential in-call buttons neatly tucked away in a floating chat head depicting the profile picture …

Essential launches Halo Gray phone with Amazon Alexa built in

Just one day after unveiling three fresh color variants of the Essential Phone, Essential today announced yet another new version of the handset. Called Halo Gray, the new model is unique because it comes with Amazon Alexa built in – thus offering an alternative to Google Assistant (the virtual assistant that’s already available on all other color variants of the Essential Phone).  
The Halo Gray Essential Phone – pictured above and below – doesn’t seem to be too different from the Stellar Gray model unveiled yesterday. According to Essential, the design …

The Essential Phone now has new (and more expensive) limited color editions

Essential just announced that it’s launching three new color versions of its very first smartphone – the Essential Phone. While we’ve already seen two of these colors (Stellar Gray and Ocean Depths), the third one – Copper Black – was never revealed before today.
All these are limited edition colors, only “a small batch of each” has been made, so they might not be available for long. Essential explains this by the fact that it’s difficult to develop custom colors for the ceramic back of its handset. 
Interestingly, …

Project Fi now works in 37 more countries; buy a compatible phone and get a free month of service

Google’s hybrid MVNO Project Fi has added 37 new countries to its international coverage list. With the new additions, Project Fi now supplies talk, text and data to 170 countries around the world. Pricing remains the same for text and data. Unlimited texting is offered in all countries on the list and data remains priced at $10/GB until Bill Protection kicks in, limiting your monthly payment at $80 ($60 for data + $20 for talk/text). Phone calls outside of the U.S. are billed at 20 cents per minute and are not included in Bill Protection.

Project Fi will even send out a notification to …

Android 8.1 Oreo beta starts rolling out to the Essential Phone

Essential has just announced that Android 8.1 Oreo is now available for the Essential Phone in the beta form. The US company confirmed last month that it will update the flagship directly to Android 8.1 Oreo, thus skipping Android 8.0.

The first beta build of Android 8.l Oreo is being pushed OTA (over the air) to those who’ve been using beta builds of Android 8.0. Otherwise, you’ll have to download the file from Essential’s website and flash it manually on your smartphone.

We also have a complete changelog that contains all the new stuff added by Essential, such as smart text selection, …

80-year-old man's reaction to using a mobile phone for the first time is super adorable

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There is something particularly sweet about watching an elderly person mastering a piece of technology for the first time.

It’s happened before, and it’ll hopefully happen many, many more times to come.

Today’s video comes courtesy of a man from Phoenix, Arizona, who shared footage of an adorable 80-year-old man practicing a phone call on his new mobile phone.

teaching my boy how to use his new phone, look at his reaction when the call went thru 😹😹😹😹 pic.twitter.com/ImwOldWOGg

— chapis. (@chapisssss_) February 13, 2018

What an awesome dude. Read more…

More about Funny, Elderly Man, Culture, and Web Culture

Essential says "a new wave" is coming on February 15 – will we see a new phone?

Several months back, Essential confirmed that it was working on a next-generation handset, saying that this should be easier to repair than the original Essential Phone. Now, the company is getting ready to announce something on February 15 – that’s Thursday – and this might have something to do with a new smartphone. 
Essential took to Twitter to inform the world that “a new wave [of something] is coming” on February 15. The company also shared an image – seen above – showing what resembles the fingerprint scanner of the first Essential Phone. This could mean …

Privacy matters: Android P might alert you if a phone call is being recorded

Android 9.0 P is likely just around the corner as an early developer beta and possible features of the upcoming build are slowly trickling out. Just yesterday, we informed you about a slew of plausible features that involved display notch support, visual improvements to make the OS more appealing to iOS users, as well as making Android future-proof and capable of correctly working on unorthodox devices like the dual-screen ZTE Axon M and the oft-rumored foldable Galaxy X. Battery improvements are also mentioned.

Today, a somewhat minor but undoubtedly noteworthy feature …

Amazon refunds Prime Exclusive phone owners who paid to remove the ads

Since 2016, Amazon has been offering an ever-increasing lineup of Prime Exclusive phones – unlocked devices sold at significantly lower prices. There has always been a catch, though – they shipped with preinstalled Amazon software and had lockscreen ads. While you couldn’t remove the apps, you had the option to pay a fee (depending on your device) to remove the lockscreen ads. At least that was the case until last week, when Amazon made the decision to remove the lockscreen ads for everyone, but increase the cost of every Prime Exclusive device by $20.
But …